fighting spam and scams on the Internet
"419" Scam – Advance Fee / Fake Lottery Scam
The so-called "419" scam is a type of fraud dominated by criminals from Nigeria and other countries in Africa. Victims of the scam are promised a large amount of money, such as a lottery prize, inheritance, money sitting in some bank account, etc.
Victims never receive this non-existent fortune but are tricked into sending their money to the criminals, who remain anonymous. They hide their real identity and location by using fake names and fake postal addresses as well as communicating via anonymous free email accounts and mobile phones.
Keep in mind that scammers DO NOT use their real names when defrauding people.
The criminals either abuse names of real people or companies or invent names or addresses.
Any real people or companies mentioned below have NO CONNECTION to the scammers!
Read more about such scams here or in our 419 FAQ. Use the Scam-O-Matic to verify suspect emails.
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Some comments by the Scam-O-Matic about the following email:
- An email address listed inside this email has been used in a known fraud before.
- This email uses a separate reply address that is different from the sender address. Spammers use this to get replies even when the original spam sending accounts have been shut down. Also, sometimes the sender addresses are legitimate looking but fake and only the reply address is actually an email account controlled by the scammers.
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "western union" (this will cost you money - be careful with upfront payments to anyone you only know through email, especially if they promise you a lot of money. NEVER send money by Western Union or MoneyGram to people you do not know personally - NO EXCEPTIONS! Instant wire transfer services are not meant to be used with strangers because they offer no protection against fraud. That is precisely why the criminals want you send money that way. )
- "moneygram" (this will cost you money - be careful with upfront payments to anyone you only know through email, especially if they promise you a lot of money. NEVER send money by Western Union or MoneyGram to people you do not know personally - NO EXCEPTIONS! Instant wire transfer services are not meant to be used with strangers because they offer no protection against fraud. That is precisely why the criminals want you send money that way. )
- "federal republic of benin" (Benin, Cameroon, etc. are no Federal Republics, unlike Nigeria where this type of scam was invented)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- Western Union money transfer is completely untraceable and therefore is *not* safe to use with anyone you do not know personally. It is the preferred method of online criminals to collect money from their victims.
- MoneyGram money transfer is completely untraceable and therefore is *not* safe to use with anyone you do not know personally. Along with Western Union it is a preferred method of online criminals to collect money from their victims.
- This email lists mobile phone numbers. Use of such numbers is typical for scams because they allow criminals to conceal their true location. They can receive calls in an Internet cafe from where they send you emails, while pretending to be in some office.
- This email lists free webmail addresses. Use of such addresses is typical for scams. Lotteries, banks and any but the smallest of companies do not normally use such addresses. Criminals use them to anonymously send and receive email at Internet cafes.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr.Marthins Jeni" <email@example.com>
Reply-To: "Mr.Marthins Jeni" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Wed, 10 Dec 2014 23:08:50 +0000 (UTC)
Subject: CONTRACT PAYMENT VALUED OF $2.5M USD.
Â CONTRACT PAYMENT VALUED OF $2.5M USD.
This is to inform you that your inhertance Fund valued of $2.5M US DOLLAR has been deposted with the western union money transfer office here in benin republic.This payment was arrengement by the Federal Republic of Benin Government, Under the co-operation of the new civilian Head of State, President DR BONI YAYI and the Governor of Central Bank Of Benin.
Your payment will be sending to you by Western Union, the amount you will receive per day is $5000 The minister trust funds of Benin Republic will send you the currently standards track details you need to pick up your ($5,000.00) payment by Western Union Money Transfer, you will be receiving your payment by $5000.00 usd every day till you receive the $2.5M The director administrator trust funds have already signed your payment,kindly contact the below person who is in position to release your payment through Western Union by $5,000.00 per a day.
Contact Mr. James Otiaba Federal Republic of Beninmes Otiaba Western Union Director ,e-mail ( email@example.com)
Phone call me +22968297322, The Western Union Money transfer center has been mandated to issue out your payment and you have to stop any further communication with any other person(s) or office(s) to avoid any hitches in receiving your payment.
Note that the administrator payment need this details from you to process your payment:
Yours in service.
Financial Minister Federal Republic of Benin